Case Studies

These clients are interested in performance; their sales, their ability to win new customers, their focus on customer requirements, their productivity. With us they have co-developed and implemented more effective ways of working, behaving and delivering, led from the top and throughout the business.
We have worked throughout the organisation with all these clients. We have helped build capability at Board or Management Team level through middle management to customer facing staff.

We work with businesses where people are an essential part of the experience for customers – there is a real link between heart and profit.

Northern bakery business lifts sales by getting to the heart of the matter Cooplands the bakers rediscovered its appetite for upselling not just its famous steak slice, but for re-engaging with its workforce and releasing 150 hearts and voices! Click here to read our case study

An old Doncaster based family bakery business, Cooplands knew it needed to freshen up its proposition and improve its sales performance.

In its 80 year history some of its practices had become old habits which needed changing. It was faring only adequately against its national rival, Greggs and other more local competition.

Wingivers began work with the business in 2010 in a way that grabbed everyone’s attention from the start. We got together a group of store and area managers and a director for a day, split them into small groups and sent them all around Yorkshire on a mission: visit (prearranged) shops and find out what they think is great customer service, how they do it, and the impact on staff and customers.  They returned with some great stories and their eyes wide open to possibilities in their own business.

This created a wave of enthusiasm and energy for the project which never left it. It also introduced a crucial dynamic which lay the ground for success early on: shop managers for the first time felt a sense of inclusion and responsibility in addressing what was clearly a big challenge for the business – how to increase service and sales.

  • Through facilitated discussion groups we uncovered key data which explained the company’s current culture and position:
  • little was made of the company’s brand appeal for family, local and fresh
  • no structured sales training, basic or up selling was being implemented
  • recruitment and induction was haphazard and without any tactical method for finding the right people
  • team spirit in shops was high – and was cited as the main reason people got out of bed in the morning to go to work (our question was about if this positive energy was also being experienced by the customer?)
  • senior and middle management constantly monitored shop sales – which became the default dialogue with shops (often dreaded or silently cursed)

Wingivers responded with a strategy in two main areas:

1. A development programme with three workshop components.
2. A longer term programme for embedding and sustaining the skills and new cultural habits the programme had introduced, which included:

  • training for the middle management group of Area Managers
  • further support for champions to continue their work of embedding new practices and change
  • new approaches to recruitment and induction of people who would be likely to fit into the Cooplands Way
  • ways of monitoring progress in the whole project,

And the results? 
During and immediately after the project, sales experienced an increase across many stores – some dramatically so .Confidence and enthusiasm of many staff and managers was a significant benefit, and at least three people we worked with were encouraged to seek management positions with their renewed confidence and self awareness of their potential.

Wingivers continues to enjoy a lasting relationship with the business and it has led to introductions to other regional retailers within the sector

Pride and Passion; the elusive prize – making the service wow factor happen again and again An expanding boutique hotel chain digs deep with us to understand ways of creating the brand on the inside that taps into the best of what their people want to offer. Click here to read our case study

Agellus Hotels was founded in 2004 by a group whose members had no experience of the hospitality sector other than as discerning customers.

They brought an intelligent, business-like and creative eye to a series of smart acquisitions. Their starting point was to develop a very strong brand identity with a clear mission, vision and development plan for each of the 4 properties they now own. The result is a highly successful and expanding family of boutique hotels with a strong reputation for quality, friendliness and excellent dining.

In 2011, Wingivers began a dialogue with Agellus, and we agreed a specific purpose for the project; to investigate how a consistent and exceptional customer experience is created in all four hotels. Sales uplift was of course the overriding aim.

We chose Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as our methodology for two reasons; i) it is a suitable approach for an operation which seeks to extrapolate the data and behaviour patterns which explain its success, by focusing on what works, ii) it encourages inclusion, storytelling and confidence amongst subject participants. AI is unusual in that it tracks positive from the start rather than attempting to find and fix what is broken.

One of our favourite findings was the glorious concept of ordinary people doing extraordinary things . We became inspired, enlightened and humbled by the magnificence of people caring, really caring about each other and their customers. After a while we became used to the often observed twin cultures that merged and sang together in harmony – for the benefit of staff, customer and owner. We saw it as a rich, repeatable formula – not just within Agellus but elsewhere.

We offered a number of  conclusions and findings to Agellus, some of which confirmed what they knew and others which introduced them to new avenues for developing their staff and business. We had much to say on the exquisite nature of “what you create on the inside will be expressed on the outside” – the whole brand inside, brand outside idea. This is a business which puts much emphasis on natural, honest service and authenticity –  humanity if you like. They know their customers can spot bullshit and pompous, pretentious service as well as any of us. The spirit of AI prevailed in some of our recommendations which included entreating them to officially adopt a practice which some are doing anyway for which they have no name; Servant Leadership (thank you, Robert Greenleaf). We also offered some thoughts in a similar vein (ie. affirming what they do and naming it) with something we called matching the talent to the brand – being deliberate and specific about recruiting more ordinary people capable of being extraordinary.

The smaller retailer's solution – a response to the internet and supermarket giants? Halfords get more personal with their branch teams to create a national service campaign Click here to read our case study

Halfords – The smaller retailer’s solution – a response to the internet and supermarket giants?

Halfords get more personal with their branch teams to create a national service campaign.

Someone on the Halfords board had a word in someone’s ear about having a word with a consultancy known to them called Wingivers. The idea was to discuss how to run a pilot programme, perhaps using a fresh approach.
 We met and subsequently set up a project to launch a store trial that aimed to test out some new working practices concerning in-store training activities, mystery shopper, “helpfulness” and the area manager role. Our role was to support a mixed design team to create a successful blueprint to roll out the new practices to other stores.

Our first encounter with the group revealed much about the Halfords culture – strong on getting on with the task with an energetic can-do attitude. We were impressed with the knowledge, talent and enthusiasm within the group. To describe a balanced picture, we also encountered the “shadow”; this was a group of people used to a JDI culture, (Just Do It! – though there is a less polite version which has an F in it), used to doing, then more doing, all good unless it becomes a singular approach to everything, omitting the occasional moments of reflection and planning.

A key task became slowing them down to pause and reflect on not just the What that needed implementing, but the How.
Other important insights emerged. They were a mixed group of 4 different grade levels from shop floor to area manager; some shyness and reluctance to speak up was inevitable. The two more senior guys present showed the way with our encouragement. Permission to speak with authenticity became more of the norm. The task eased; the session completed with clear outcomes on the blueprint, but most notable was the shift in energy and involvement of the participants. There were numerous comments about feeling valued and pride and gratitude about being included in the project. It signposted very important clues for Halfords to reflect on ways of engaging colleagues concerning important business changes. Inclusivity, respect and the shift in the core relationship dynamic of Parent-Child to Adult-Adult dialogue were some observations that Wingivers added.

We therefore ended this phase with some clear learning for the business about how attention to cultural habits and behaviour can play as big a part in operational issues influence as the intended operational activity itself. One Area Manager inspired us with his humble and insightful self reflection as he re-examined his whole approach to leadership.  Inside these golden nuggets of awareness, Halfords was discovering the enormous power of helpfulness which was later to become their new strapline “That’s helpful, that’s Halfords”.


More clients coming soon...